by Tracey Shaffer, RDN, LD
Fall brings the new crop of hard-shelled squash to the grocery store. These winter squash add an abundance of super nutrients to the table. Orange-fleshed squashes are especially high in beta-carotene, a nutrient important for healthy skin, immune system and night vision. A half-cup of cooked orange-flesh winter squash provides about 50 calories, a nutritional bargain.
Squash is easy to cook by following the cooking tips below:
Get squash ready to use in a wide assortment of recipes from soup to dessert by baking, steaming or boiling. Roasting enhances squash’s natural sweetness.
Bake: Cut in half, remove seeds and place cut-side down in a baking dish. Bake at 350⁰ F or microwave on high until tender. Scoop flesh for recipes using cooked squash.
Roast: Cut into chunks, peel cut off, toss with olive oil and seasonings. Place on a foil-lined shallow baking pan and roast at 475°F for 35 to 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Roast until they’re fork-tender.
Steam or boil: Cook peeled chunks in a small amount of simmering water or in a steamer until tender. Season and serve.
Winter Squash Primer:
Butternut: Tan shell makes these easy to spot. Similar in flavor and texture to sweet potatoes.
Acorn: Looks like a large green acorn. Sweet buttery yellow-orange flesh.
Buttercup: Dark green shell with lighter green spots. Deep-yellow flesh with slightly nutty flavor.
Spaghetti: Stringy flesh resembles cooked spaghetti. Use as a very low-calorie alternate to pasta dishes.
Whether you prefer sweet or savory, winter squash fits both tastes. Try this flavorful recipe featuring butternut squash.
Tracey Shaffer, RDN, LD is a registered dietitian at the Blue Springs Hy-Vee. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. The information is not intended as medical advice.
Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.